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Even before Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, human civilization has had a morbid fascination with spiders.
Worldwide, and since the introduction of antivenom, very few fatalities can actually be attributed directly to spiders. The legendary Sydney Funnel-web Spider from Australia last caused a fatality in 1981. Other species of spiders around the world cause fatalities due to their venomosity combined with a lack of medical facilities and treatment.
In South Africa, there has never been a verified death from a spider bite. It’s estimated that of the approximately 2500 species of spider in Southern Africa, only about 20 species are considered medically important.
Oddly enough, the average spider’s venom has very little affect upon humans. Many spiders rarely bite, others only deliver a mechanical bite, when their fangs penetrate human skin. Despite the lack of evidence that spiders are dangerous to humans, the average person lives in misguided fear of these creatures.
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